Funeral Service for Mr. Ford will be Live Streamed the day of the service here on the website. In Lieu of flowers, planting trees or sending money to the family; consider a donation to the St. James A.M.E. Zion Church.
Edward Lewis Ford, Jr. was born April 20, 1951 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He was the second of three children born to the late Edward Lewis Ford, Sr. and Lucille Gibbs Ford. Edward entered eternal rest the morning of June 23, 2020.
Edward grew up on Grant Street in Perth Amboy and attended its public schools. After graduating from Perth Amboy High School (PAHS) in 1968, he attended Jersey City State College (now New Jersey City University). As a student, he pledged Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated. He graduated with a degree in music education in 1973. He continued his education at New York University where he completed the required credits for a Master’s degree in philosophy.
Edward found joy in musical arts and quickly turned his love of listening to music and whistling to playing musical instruments. He learned to play violin in his youth and played tuba in the PAHS Marching Band. This love of music also extended to his first job as the instrumental music teacher at Camden Middle School in Newark, NJ. It was the school’s first year in existence and Edward established the Instrumental Music Education Program. While teaching at Camden Middle School, he met a beautiful 5th grade teacher, Gayle Jo-Ann Rowlette. The two dated and joined in holy matrimony on June 4, 1977. This union produced two sons, Edward Lewis Ford III (born in 1981) and Eric Rowlette Ford (born in 1985). Edward’s family was the center of his world. He cherished the love they shared and worked to ensure they had everything they needed.
He left teaching in 1982 to care for his ailing father. After his father passed away in 1983, he began working as a claims adjudicator for the state of New Jersey Department of Disability Determinations. He worked there until his retirement in 2010.
Even though he no longer taught music, it still continued to play a big role in his life. When the Jazz bug bit him, he quickly learned to play the tenor saxophone. He honed his craft by “standing on the bandstand” at jam sessions throughout NJ to play with other talented musicians. His band, the Infinity Jazz Quartet, played venues throughout New Jersey and New York, entertaining public crowds and private parties, receptions & gatherings. His sons would accompany him to gigs throughout the years. Eric would DJ between sets and Edward would MC his shows. The music he provided, the relationships he made and the camaraderie he had in the musical community were a source of great joy.
Edward was a committed and faithful lifelong member of St. James African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. This commitment was fostered at a young age and instilled in him by his parents through his grandparents who were founding members. Its congregation was an extended family to him throughout his life. As a child, he sang in the Youth Choir and participated in Sunday School. As an adult, he served on the Stewards Board as the Pastor’s Steward. He was also part of the Men’s Fellowship, Men’s Choir, Feeding Ministry, Adult Sunday School as a teacher and student and church photographer. He was a member who would do anything for his church. These formal and informal positions were an act of love and an expression of his deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
He is survived by his loving, caring and dedicated wife Gayle; mother-in-law Dorothy Rowlette; two sons and daughters-in-law, Edward and LaTanya Ford and Eric and Charla Ford; granddaughters Bria and Brielle Ford; sisters Judy Ford and Jan Ford Chisholm; family friend Jeffrey Hudak; brother-in-law Lester Chisholm; niece Laura Ford; godsons Morgan Carey and Brandon Carey and a host of cousins, loving family and friends.
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St. James AME Zion Church
68 Commerce Street, Perth Amboy NJ 08861